12 hobbies that could make you a better employee

Naturally, we often focus a lot of our attention on what we can do within the confines of work to be better at our jobs.

But recent research out of San Francisco State University shows that we may be better employees if we use our time outside of work wisely, as well.

After conducting studies on employees who self-rated or were rated by coworkers on job performance, the researchers concluded that people with creative hobbies outside of work feel more relaxed and in control in their off hours and are more likely to be helpful to coworkers and creative in their approach solving work problems than those without these hobbies.

One study found that employees who reported engaging fairly often in creative hobbies also had a 15% to 30% edge on occasional hobbyists when it came to performance rankings.

The researchers say it’s possible that having a creative outlet could provide an opportunity to discover new skills, which could also be helpful in the workplace. They suggested that companies could even benefit from encouraging their employees to consider creative activities outside of work.

Based on Arthur Koestler’s seminal work, “The Act Of Creation,” creative hobbies involve the exploration of new cognitive pathways and the connection of previously unrelated thoughts. Many activities have the potential for being creative and could include:


Dance often requires choreography, which involves designing sequences of steps and movements.



While some cooks stick entirely to the recipe, others bring together various recipes and methods to construct their masterpieces.

Writing poetry

The researchers noted that writing poetry likely results in the improvement of one's ability to articulate thoughts, and a skill that may spill over into the workplace.


Larry Busacca/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Many baking enthusiasts will tell you that baking has a calming influence, and recovering from the stresses of work is crucial to returning ready to tackle the day.

Home decorating

You have to use your imagination to envision a stark room as your beautifully decorated sanctuary.

Crossword puzzles

Crosswords puzzles require you to think differently about something and connect different thoughts, key elements of creativity.

Stand-up comedy


Humour often involves suspending reality, which is key to creativity.


Turning a blank canvas into a work of art means generating new possibilities and seeing things differently.


Song writers could describe the demands or strain experienced during work, which is a a cathartic release of work strain, the researchers noted.

Soap making

Soap making can be a creative venture and sometimes requires trial and error to get the final product just right.


Photo: Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc.

According to the researchers, some people, like photographers for instance, may engage in creative activities that are similar to their experiences at work because of the shared knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Playing games

Playing games often requires sensing what's askew, making guesses, and testing and revising them, otherwise known as creative thinking.

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